For the third year in a row - and only the third year of the competition - The University of Texas-Pan American Mariachi was judged the best collegiate mariachi in the country at the annual Ford Motor Co. Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in San Antonio. Directed by Dr. Dahlia Guerra, assistant professor of music, the UT Pan American Mariachi competed Friday night (Nov. 21) at the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium against musical groups from the University of Arizona, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. The only university group to receive a standing ovation, the UTPA musicians were lauded by the judges for their outstanding showmanship and the level of difficulty of the performance pieces. "The kids really performed well, they were just dynamite," said Guerra, who noted that the Mariachi performed some "really difficult music that they had only been rehearsing for about three weeks." The University of Arizona placed second in the competition and UT Austin third. The annual musical festival is named in honor of the world-renowned Mariachi Vargas of Mexico City, whose members serve as judges for the annual student competition. "Mariachi Vargas is celebrating its 100th birthday this year," said Guerra. "They are considered the best in the world. They set the style and the standard for mariachi music everywhere."